Natural gas is found in shale rock, which is located deep within the earth’s crust. Fracking is a hydraulic process that makes it possible to extract this valuable natural resource from shale rock. Once unreachable, this valuable natural gas resource is now accessible. Today’s modern-day advancements allow scientists to view three-dimensional images, allowing for precise deposit and drilling locations to easy be determined.
Contemporary horizontal drilling technologies allow pressurized fluids to be inserted into shale areas. This creates effective channels, which allows natural gas to be easily extracted. The traditional vertical drilling process takes longer, with modern methods taking a month and fracking methods drilling up to a mile through the earth’s crust. After the natural gas well is thoroughly extracted, companies encase the well with cement, which helps protect against groundwater intrusion. During the fracking process, shale is hydraulically “fractured” using fracking fluids and water.
Hydraulic fracturing involves drilling for oil and natural gas under the earth’s surface. Fluids are pumped into this area, which creates fractures or fissures, allowing the gas to release directly into collection wells.
Natural gas companies strive to keep the environment in pristine condition using groundwater protection. Once the wells have been tapped, companies often install a small wellhead, in addition to several storage tanks and a natural gas metering system, which is designed to monitor accurate production levels.
Pennsylvania is a popular area for natural gas fracking. In fact, since 2009, more than 72,000 oil and gas jobs have been created using fracking techniques. Northeastern Pennsylvania produces more than 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.
There are several different types of shale that harbor natural gas deposits.
- Barnett Shale – This is the primary source of shale for natural gas and also has the added benefit of containing oil deposits. Mainly located in North Texas, this type of shale is being tapped by more than 17,000 producing wells.
- Bakken Shale – This is found in North Dakota, Saskatchewan, Canada, and Montana. These areas have recently been explored and continue to contribute to booming production levels.
- Marcellus Shale – This type of shale is located under the Appalachian Basin and encompasses several states, including Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
- Eagle Ford Shale – Located in south Texas and continuing along the state’s gulf coastline, this area contains crude gas condensations.
- Haynesville Shale – Encompassing North Louisiana, East Texas and Southwest Arkansas, fracking is making it possible to explore this 10,000-foot deep area.
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